Page last updated at 18:09 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Cash fund 'for difficult times'

Guildford High Street
Guildford council is looking at creating a 200,000 credit crunch fund

A move to create a 200,000 "credit crunch fund" has been approved by the executive of Guildford council.

The funds would be added to existing resources to support residents and businesses in "difficult times", a spokeswoman for the authority said.

The move was discussed on Thursday as part of the council's financial planning process.

Members will consider the whole budget, including the credit crunch fund, at a full council meeting on 12 February.

Other moves being considered include a lower increase in council tax than last year, the spokeswoman added.

'Unprecedented pressures'

The council is also looking at developing an overall economic strategy, following a joint study with the University of Surrey.

Plans include providing funding for environmental improvements in Ash South and Tongham, and continued town centre improvements for North Street, the High Street and the bus station.

Councillor Tony Rooth said: "Although Guildford Borough Council is also affected by the same unprecedented financial pressures as local residents and businesses, we want to do all we can in next year's budget to help them.

"We hope that the new credit crunch fund will assist those in need during the prolonged period of economic downturn, along with the other services we already provide such as housing and council tax benefit, energy grants and flexible payments for business."

Last Friday, government data confirmed the UK was in recession for the first time since the early 1990s.

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